Federal legislation that expands hunting, fishing and shooting opportunities on public lands has passed Congress.
The Natural Resources Management Act, a suite of more than 100 individual bills, also places protections on more than 2 million acres of public land and makes permanent the Land and Conservation Fund, popular with sportsmen, among other things.
A bipartisan effort pushed the legislation easily through both chambers of Congress. The Senate vote was 92-8 for passage; the House vote was 363-62. As of March 1, it awaited President Trump’s return from overseas and his expected signature.
The legislation dictates that all Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service lands will be open to hunting, recreational shooting and fishing unless closed specifically for safety reasons or other “justified reasons documented through established public processes.”
It also clears the way for construction and expansion of public shooting ranges, even those on BLM and national forest lands. The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides the money for public ranges as well as parks and public-land access points.
Mar 25, 2019 -
The permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation fund is broadly viewed by the conservation community as the greatest achievement of this act. The popular program, which invests royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling into public access, parks and shooting ranges, expired in September. Numerous advocates from the sporting community have worked tirelessly get the fund back on its feet.